Sunday, March 09, 2014


The citrus is beginning to perfume the neighborhood, lots of South African bulbs are blooming, and the earliest roses are hinting at the show to come. It's a beautiful time of year.

An unknown bromeliad species that never looks like much until it blooms, then ooooooo-baby.
The March garden chores that happen in my neck of the woods:

1) Pot up tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings. By the end of this March, tomatoes can begin to go in the ground. 

The Albuca circinata is blooming.
2) Dig in the cover crops to prepare beds for summer planting. This year, I planted agricultural mustard as a cover crop in two beds to act as green manure and to help combat root knot nematodes. Yesterday, I turned over one of the beds so the mustard can decompose before I plant out the tomatoes.

3) Weed.

4) Start a second round of pole beans.

This year, I grafted four pieces of Hawaii apple to my Golden Russet. Every scion took. 
5) Find something to do with all the Meyer lemons. Make marmalade, Meyer lemon liqueur, preserved Meyer lemons, Meyer lemon aigre-doux. Dry them, make curd, make cookies, send them to friends in cold places.

6) Prune back winter damage and worn-out on perennials and blooming shrubs for a good mid-spring show.

6) Fertilize citrus, roses, perennials, garlic, onions, everything.

Four years ago, I planted scarlet flax from seed and I've never needed to plant purposefully again; now I just thin for where I want it.
7) Thin the self-seeded annuals for the best show later this month and through the spring.

8) Check the irrigation lines before it gets hot to make sure the gophers haven't cut through them and all the drips are functioning.

The apricots are struggling this year with so few chill hours. This branch of Goldkist has bloomed, but most of the rest of the tree and its sister, Blenheim, hasn't bloomed.
9) Curse the damn, mother-licking gophers for being assholes.

10) Thin the fruit on early-setting stone fruit.

11) Weed some more.

Royal Lee cherry has a nice set of fruit, the most yet.
Minnie Royal is loaded. I can't wait for cherries.
12) Turn over the compost pile and deliver completed compost to the awaiting beds.

This rose pre-existed my tenure in this garden, and it is a fragrant, silvery showstopper. Later this month, it will be loaded with buds.


Emily said...

Oh that is a lovely rose.

My cherry trees (the same pair that you have) are, for the first time ever, loaded with fruit. I would not have expected that from such a low-chill winter, but it is an exciting surprise!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

we can grow cherries here? seriously? what color? are they edible like Bings or do they have to be preserved with sugar like pie cherries.

Christina said...

Emily: Are you experiencing some fruit drop on your cherries? If so, do you think it's heat related? I know they're getting enough water.

PA: Yup. I've had this pair for four years, and each year, I get more fruit. The two trees are bred specifically for warm winters. The fruit are delicious for fresh eating--somewhere between a Bing and a Royal Ann.

Patsy said...

That first spectacular bloom is almost certainly a _Bilbergia nutans_, aka Queen's Tears, native to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Aren't they astounding? Just like goats, I never could have imagined them into being... .

Christina said...

Patsy: You're dead on--a quick image search confirms your ID. I love this plant. I love that the flowers are lined in navy blue! So cool! Like you, I doubt I could have imagined them had I never seen them.